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Airbus says to sell 50 helicopters to Chinese firm

An Airbus A320neo aircraft pictured during a news conference in Colomiers near Toulouse, France. - Reuters File
An Airbus A320neo aircraft pictured during a news conference in Colomiers near Toulouse, France. - Reuters File
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PARIS: France-based Airbus said on Friday that it had agreed to sell 50 helicopters to the Chinese leasing firm GDAT, a deal announced on the final day of President Emmanuel Macron's state visit to China.


"We are honoured GDAT has decided to bolster their all-Airbus fleet of 26 helicopters with the addition of 50 H160 helicopters," Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, said in a statement.


Macron visited Guangzhou in China's southern industrial heartland on Friday, the final stop on a three-day visit in which he has repeatedly pushed his counterpart Xi Jinping to help end the Ukraine conflict.


His office had said beforehand that he would seek "another path" from the directly confrontational route often taken by the United States, with trade with China still seen as an important part of ties.


"This contract is a great example of the importance of economic and trade cooperation between France and China," Peter Jiang, chairman of GDAT, was quoted as saying in the Airbus statement.


Shanghai-based GDAT specialises in helicopter sales, leasing and maintenance, with clients including the Chinese emergency services and government agencies.


The H160 is marketed as a versatile helicopter by Airbus that can be used for roles ranging from VIP travel to military missions.


Airbus said Friday's order was the largest for civilian use since the launch of the H160 in 2015.


No financial details were given about the value of the deal.


Meanwhile, Icelandair is to buy 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft with purchase rights for additional 12 jets as it renews its fleet, the company said. "Icelandair and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft with purchase rights for additional 12 aircraft," the carrier said in a statement after Thursday's agreement, adding deliveries will start in 2029.


Icelandair added that it plans to start operating Airbus aircraft in 2025, saying it is in advanced talks for four leased Airbus A321LR.


"With the acquisition of the Airbus aircraft, Icelandair will complete the replacement of the Boeing 757," said the carrier, without revealing details of the purchase price of the deal.


A321XLR and A321LR models belong to European manufacturer Airbus' A320neo family of narrow-body aircraft designed to afford enhanced fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions.


Icelandair, which carried 3.7 million passengers in 2022, has a 48-strong fleet which it has looked to Airbus to renovate after Boeing ended production of its 757 three years ago. - AFP


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